Ovid: The Love Poems Summary

Ovid: The Love Poems Summary

The Art of Love

In this poem, the poet says that parting for a short period of time wears out affection and absence of love leads to infidelity. If Menelaus hadn’t left Helen, she wouldn’t a e shared bed with the stranger in her house. It wasn’t Helen’s fault to commit adultery but Menelaus’s to leave her craving for love.

On Fidelity

In this poem, the poet asks his beloved that it’s okay to commit infidelity, after all she is beautiful, but all he wants is that she doesn’t tell him of her adultery and spare him the pain. She can’t be chaste but should imitate chaste girls. She can be notorious with anyone but maintain public modesty. She can make love but then leave her discretion behind in the same bed and let shame not become responsible for her deed. She can trick everyone and even the poet himself, she is allowed to keep him in ignorance. The poem is erotic yet maintains subtle dignity. Poet says that he would rather live happily deceived than knowing that his beloved has cheated on him and slept with someone else. The pain of knowing partner’s infidelity is reflected in this poem. The poet would rather be happy with the lie than be killed with the truth.

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